Young people from the areas of Traditional Authorities (T/As) Bwananyambi and Chowe hailed YONECO for conducting Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) outreach activities right in their communities. The youth asserted that they are always in need of both SRH services and information but their efforts to access information and services are prevented by long distances to the available delivery points.
Young people from Chisopi village indicated that a nearest delivery point is Nkumba Health Center which is 9 Km away from their area. The young people also revealed that young girls are getting early and unwanted pregnancies due to lack of information and access to SRH services.
The fact that young people from the targeted areas are indeed in need of SRH services manifested itself with the uptake of the services that were being provided during the outreach activity. Many young people went for HIV Counselling and Testing (HTC) and accessed SRH information as well as services
While appreciating the good work which YONECO does for young people, a Headmaster from one of the Primary Schools that are in the area bemoaned the increase in the number of child marriage cases. The Headmaster stated that child marriages are greatly contributing to high school dropout rates of girls in the area. He further added that many of the adolescent girls who drop out of school are married off to men who work and stay in South Africa.
The Headmaster also indicated that he was very optimistic that providing the adolescents with SRH information and services is a prolific move that will help in reducing the prevalence of teenage pregnancies as well as school dropouts as a matter of consequence.
With support from UNFPA, YONECO has been implementing a number of initiatives that are aimed at enhancing Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH&R) as well as the welfare of young people in Nkhata Bay, Mangochi, Machinga, Chiradzulu and Chikwawa districts. The package of the SRH Outreach Activities for Young People include; HIV Counselling and Testing (HTC), providing contraceptives as well as accurate and age-appropriate information about sex and sexuality.